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Decision Making Configurations: An Alternative To The Centralization/Decentralization Conceptualization

John B. Cullen, Pamela L. Perrewe

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Typically, the centralization/decentralization of decision making authority is viewed as the tendency to concentrate authority at the top or at the bottom of the organization hierarchy. However, this conceptualization ignores possible differences in organizational processes that result from the numerous potential hierarchical configurations. In this study, factors identified in the literature as predictors of centralization/decentralization were used as potential discriminating variables among several decision making configurations in university affiliated professional schools. The model developed from multiple discriminant analysis had reasonable success in classifying correctly only the decentralized system. Implications for professional school organization and for the general conceptualization and analysis of organizational decision making are discussed.